Back in end June when we finally received the names of our host organizations for our CSC program scheduled in Cape Town for a month across August and September, I had no idea that Woodstock Exchange was going to remain etched in my mind for good. All that we knew was that it was somewhere downtown and will take us a good 15 mins to reach with normal traffic flow. For me, who had never traveled out of India, this meant nothing but a location with a line slithering through the map from Protea Fire and Ice at Tamboerskloof.
Standing gorgeous on Albert Road at the crossing of Station Road with an old rustic church offering a welcome view, Woodstock Exchange was hardly the office we expected to have. Woodstock Exchange is the first of it’s kind that provides a place to the young, creative, and innovative individuals to create, grow, shop, play, exhibit, and be the very best at their unique craft. Home to both flourishing businesses and startups, Woodstock Exchange is home to some of the trendiest, most innovative and most progressive fashion designers, photographers, illustrators, film directors, and artists. It showcases some of South Africa’s youth culture and music, and celebrates the unique crafts of those with a vision that far exceeds what the eye can see right in front of it. The most unique installations and graffitis welcomes one and all to this wonderfully vibrant and unconventional office space.
Cape Digital Foundation, our host organization, had its office on the third floor of the Woodstock Exchange, at the Bandwidth Barn. And what a wonderfully creative and energetic workspace this is! Buzzing with innovators young and old, from all around the world, the place exudes an energy that is so addictive that even after one and a half months of being away from the place, I can visualize every corner of the place we frequented. It all seems to so vividly alive and just a blink away.
And like all exciting places, Woodstock teems with young people hanging out at the innumerable cafes and restaurants. So, have a cuppa, a sumptuous lunch (take your pick from the regular meals or seafood specialties), buy your leather bags and other interesting takeaways and finally wrap it up with chocolates! Go to Superette for breakfast or Field Office for a coffee, and check out the Pedersen + Lennard showroom. Some other nice restaurants include Ocean Jewels and Starling and Hero Bicycle Cafe sweet shops like Chapel, Kingdom and Saks Corner amongst others. Buy your choice of plants or other decorations from Pole Pole on your way back from lunch or coffee.
Our month at Woodstock was all about a mandatory lunch and the Flu Shot for Gearoid at the Bicycle Cafe followed by a customary coffee (and tea for Gearoid) from the Field Office. A one-off lunch at Ocean Jewels or Superette would always be covered by the same ritual of visiting the Field Office. No harm admitting that we literally fell in love with the place that offered the most refreshing view on a sparkling sunny day! Of course, we hated the “cold tunnel” that would send shivers down the spine on cold and windy days, but as I sit writing about all of that, I miss even the part that we hated the most while being there. In fact, we could hardly make ourselves to say formal farewells to our friends who served us food, tea, and coffee every day! Sigh!